"The proper use of imagination is to give beauty to the world..." Lin Yu-T'ang

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Old English Village That Saved Me

My husband's favorite Christmas decoration in our home is the little English village I painted 20 years ago. Every Thanksgiving he excitedly puts it up to enjoy every second of its time to be displayed. 

 There's a story behind this little village. The story of how I came into art and how art open me up.

I was waiting for my paperwork to go through the red tape state to become a certified music teacher. It was during the month of December and I knew I wouldn't be able to teach until January. I lived alone at the time and struggled with depression. I needed something to keep myself busy and productive. I thought about what I could do for the month and decided on a whim to go over to a local art store. 


The little bare, bisque houses caught my eye and I thought to myself, This is it. The perfect project to keep myself busy and productive and have something at the end of the month to show for it. It became my symbol of survival and resourcefulness. A solace that I would return to anytime I needed something to focus on, something to keep myself busy and creating. Something to remind myself of my aliveness.

 I didn't "know how" to paint at the time. I'd never painted anything before. But while I was at the art store, something whispered to me from deep inside myself and said "Do this." I followed the advice fell in love with painting. It was so natural. So easy. So relaxing.

The time went by so quickly. The month was up before I knew it and I had a beautiful, little village that had grown one little building at a time on my counter top. 

What I had discovered was not the end product. And although I was extremely pleased and surprised at how they had turned out, what I loved was the process and what happened inside myself that made a difference in my life; my outlook, my well being.

I had discovered how to bring to the outside what I knew resided inside. To bring my expression of beauty and joy to physical reality. This is something I was never able to do with music.What a relief and a joy to find some place where I am able to express myself so freely.

The holiday season means something different for each of us. Whether it's a season of fun or meaning or celebration or whether this season has brought a challenge to your door, my wish is for connection to others and to yourself. And for freedom and space to express what resides quietly within the heart.

All the very best.


  1. Kari, this is such a touching story! Your houses are beautiful but the meaning and memories that reside inside them are even better! This season holds a little bit of fun and a little bit of sadness for me...I try to embrace them both...

  2. Thank you for sharing your story Kari. Art has helped me through many a bump in the road and as you say it's the process that makes the difference to one's state of mind. How wonderful to have this sweet little village to remind you of how you overcame a temporary struggle.


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